You know that moment. You’re backstage waiting to return on stage when you look at the clock, your watch, or your phone and realize that large group should have been done by now. You’re running behind and there’s still more ground to cover.

This was where I found myself this past week. Large group was running long, and I knew I’d have to edit on the fly.

Hopefully, this won’t happen often, but at some point it will happen. You’ll find yourself back stage — or on stage — needing to chop something. Here are a few tips for how you can be prepared to save you some stress in the moment.

Know your script: You can’t edit what you don’t know. Just looking at the script, I knew going long was a possibility. I took note of the main points I needed to cover and game I needed to lead. I made sure that I had an idea for where we were headed during large group and how my role as Host fit into that end in mind. I knew my part of the script backwards and forwards.

Have a game plan: Learn your script with a pencil in hand. Make note of what’s most important and know how you could capture those ideas in as few words as possible. Think about how you’d do your part of the story if all you had was three minutes or 30 seconds. While I was learning the script, I also made notes of what I could cut without sacrificing the big ideas. I knew that if I had to edit on the fly, I could pull off my introduction in two sentences, a large group game in three minutes, and boil down my closer into another two sentences.

Talk it through: As a production team, talk through the possibilities. Know how long each element during large group will take. Have an idea of the overall timing before you head on stage. Even the best intentioned teams face the unknown: how long kids will take finding their seats, a technical glitch on a video, calming the crowd after a large group game. Each takes time, and having a game plan of how to recover in the face the unknown is vital to pulling off a dynamic large group.

Don’t sacrifice small group time: Whatever you do, don’t keep going like there’s not a timing issue. The most important thing that happens during your kidmin hour is what happens during small group. The relationships formed through activities and discussions are foundational to a child’s faith. Don’t sacrifice that for the sake of a large group element you think is cool. Say what needs to be said and get out of the way. Help small group leaders win!


Knowing your script and having a plan that’s communicated effectively will give you what you need to edit on the fly.


I’d love to hear your stories! How did you edit on the fly the last time you were running behind in large group?


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